Fiat currency has driven the outsourcing economy in reverse. Companies such as Upwork, Freelancer and Fiverr all promise to provide qualified talent. These companies struggle with the demands of the fiat-based systems. High fees and chargebacks constrain the labor pools and frustrate customers. One organization, Gitcoin.co is disrupting the $86 billion-dollar outsourcing industry.
Today, gig-economy platforms like Fiverr and Upwork have exposed real problems with the fiat-based economy. In one example, Fiverr recently banned a popular ‘elite-level’ content creator from their platform. Voiceover Pete had thousands of orders on Fiverr for his popular videos. He was popular among Fiverr executives and cohosted events across the country. Fiverr featured his profile in a case study called, “One Career Ends, a New One Begins”. Then, without warning, Fiverr banned him from the platform and withheld thousands of dollars of his payments.
As another example, when a client issues a chargeback to Upwork, they will take the money from the freelancer and provide it back to the client. Developers from all over the world have complained about this.
“I am being compelled to pay $1,200 back,” a developer from India.
“The client has both my work and money,” writes Thomas K.
On top of this, both Fiverr and Upwork charge very high fees. Upwork’s fees start at 20%. Fiverr is 20% as well. A developer that charges $100 for the work will only receive $80 after fees.
Something needed to be done about the massive problems caused by Upwork and Fiverr. Gitcoin was launched by ConsenSys developer Kevin Owocki and his team in 2017. With the tagline, “Open source financial freedom” Kevin set about to modernize the freelance economy. The system was incubated by funding development on internal ConsenSys projects. These projects include the following:
Browser wallet plugin Metamask
Decentralized Ethereum exchange EtherDelta
A powerful development environment for programmers called Truffle
According to a January 2019 graph, there are more than $235,000 worth of bounties on the platform.
Forbes.com held a series of interviews in January with Kevin Owocki and five different developers that actively use the Gitcoin.co platform.
A developer that uses Gitcoin, Onuwa Nnachi, from Nigeria, takes us through what it is like in his day:
From his laptop, Anish accesses Gitcoin.co and browses through available jobs. After selecting one job, an email is sent to the project owner for approval. Upon approval, Anish works on the assignment on his own time table. Once it is completed, Anish uploads the work to Github. The project owner reviews the work and approves the payment. Anish is paid immediately. There are no transaction fees. Because the DAI stablecoin is used, there is no exchange rate issues. Both the project owner and the worker are happy with the outcome.
Any manner of work can be organized using Github and Gitcoin. For example, Joseph Schiarizzi indicates an assignment that he was given using this platform:
“A few months ago, I did a bounty [for a company], that if you hosted a meetup showing how to use the tools they would pay the bounty,” says Joseph.
There are currently more than $234,000 worth of projects listed through Gitcoin. Project owners favor the Gitcoin platform over Upwork and Fiverr due to the quality of work provided and the ability to incentivize open source development.
“We think open source powers billions of dollars of economic value,” says Kevin Owoki of Gitcoin, “It’s an opportunity for people to make money doing what they love which is developing open source software.”
Any type of worker from beginner to experienced can compete on the platform. The platform provides a fair opportunity to all. So workers that are currently affected by the government shutdown can immediately work and be paid by Gitcoin.
“I got a contributor at first time (sic) around February,” says Onuwa Nnachi, “The process is actually seamless and very easy to understand.”
“I’ve done 15 or 20 bounties so far,” Anish Agnihotri says, “It’s been a great experience so far.”
“In Winnipeg, there are not a lot of opportunities,” says David Samborski, “I found that I was able to supplement my income through Gitcoin.”
The platform is not opposed to commercial opportunities. When asked about the future of Gitcoin, Kevin highlighted the upcoming plans:
“I think that we’re going to be basically, probably in the next year or so add support for closed source repositories and will probably charge people who post bounties on closed source repositories.”
Project owners should consider adding Gitcoin to further their development goals. With a rich and diverse talent pool, a powerful payment system and a global reach, Gitcoin is primed to handle the modern challenges of a global economy.